Skip to main content

Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

See other formats

274                                               TEE  R^NX KiTEHKA,

is still called Thok Saiyidat, and is owned by his descendants ; the present head
of the family being Sardar Ali, who officiated for a time as a Tahsildar in the
Mainpari district. The place where his great ancestor was bnried is shown at
the hack of the Chhatthi Palna, but is unmarked by any monument.
The story as told ia different localities is so identical in all its main features
that it may reasonably be accepted as based on fact ; bat It is difficult to deter-
mine an exact date for the event, or decide which of the Sissodia Princes of
Chitor is intended by the personage styled * the Rana Katehra *    Still, though
certainty is unattainable, a conjectural date may be assigned with some amount
of probability ; for as the Bana Katehra is represented as still living at the time
when the fort of Halni-ban was recovered by Ala-ud-dinj his flight from his
own country cannot have occurred very long previously, and may plausibly
be connected with Ala-ml-din's memorable sack of Chitor, which took place in
the year 1303.    If &o} he can scarcely have been more than a cadet of the
royal line ; for, according to accepted tradition, the actual Barm of Mewar and
all his family hail perished in the siege, with the exception only of the second
son and his infant nephew, Hamir2 the heir to the throne? who eventually not
only recovered the ancient capital of Ms forefathers, but made it the centre of
a far wider dominion than had ever previously acknowledged the Sissodia rale.
The stratagem of introducing armed men disguised as women in closed litters
into the heart of the enemy's camp had been successfully practised against Ala-
nd-din himseli after a former siege of Chitor, and had resulted in the escape of
the captured Rana.   This may have suggested the adoption of the same expedi-
ent at Maha-ban, either in fact to the Sufij who is said to have carried it into
execution^ or to the local legend-monger^ who has used it as an embellishment
to Ms narrative*
The shrine of Syam Lala? to -which allusion has been made above5 still
exists as a mean little cell, perched on the highest point of the fortifications on
the side where they overlook the Jantuna. It is believed to mark the spot where
Jasoda gave birth to Maya, or Joga-nidrij substituted by Vasudeva for the in-
fant Krishna, But by far the most interesting building is a covered court
called Nanda's Palace^ or more commonly the Assi-Khamba, i.e.y the eighty
pillars* In its present form is was erected by the Muhammadans in the time of
Auraagzelb out of older materials, to serve as a mosque, and as it now stands,
it Is divided, by five rows of sixteen pillars each, into four aisles, or rather into
a centre and two narrower side aisles, with one broad outer cloister. The
external pillars of this outer cloister are each of one massive shaft} cut into many